Why not be positive? After the year we’ve been through 2021 can’t help but be an improvement. I know, I know, pandemic habits die hard. Bad news on the doorstep, again. So to help steel your resolve for positivity, here’s a slew of songs on the perfection theme.
Parthenon Huxley (aka P. Hux) has the perfect sound to kick off this themed post with the addictive guitar hooks and Eels-meets-ELO smooth vocals on his song “Perfect.” He even has another tune that would fit in here called “Perfection” – but let’s not overdo it. Irrelevant aside: I just discovered that Hux produced Eels front man Mark Everett’s first two solo albums and A Man Called E is about as perfect as a debut can be. Bombadil change up the pace and style of what we’re doing here with their song “Perfect,” a lilting folkie track with a lot of uplift, from their 2017 album Fences. “Perfecto” is another 2017 release, this time from big guitar guy Chris Church’s long player Limitations of the Source Tape. For Church this offering is actually a bit low key (well, until the end) but has a lovely Matthew Sweet vibe with vocals that remind me of recent work by that inventive iconoclast Brad Peterson. I don’t know a lot a about Louisville, Kentucky’s The Pine Club, other than that they have three albums of fab material dating from the beginning of the new century. From their self-titled LP we showcase “Oh, Perfect!” Nice horns and background vocals on this one.
Our next batch of performers move from vague ruminations about the perfect to more bold and weeping claims, singing about a perfect world of some sort or other. Mike Viola has some serious songwriting magic going on all over his many releases and “El Mundo de Perfecto” from his 2011 album Electro De Perfecto exemplifies these considerable skills. The song is so quintessentially Viola while also seeming to draw from acts like Crowded House stylistically. Fastball was one of those bands I only discovered deep into their career, on 2017’s Step Into Light specifically. That meant I had so many delightful surprises waiting for me dipping into their back catalogue. “Perfect World” is from 2004’s Keep Your Wig On and it really is a perfect manifestation of their new millennium Beatles/Tom Petty-inspired sound. From Dwight Twilley’s ironically titled The Luck album came a bona-fide should-be hit single in “Perfect World.” I still can’t believe this track didn’t race up the charts when it finally got a single release in 1998. Now, in the interests of journalistic balance I must include Ball Park Music’s “The Perfect World Does Not Exist.” I mean, they’re right, of course. And they say it with such a quirky You Won’t almost folkie charm.
Well, if a perfect world is beyond our grasp what about more accomplishable goals? Gary Ritchie would settle for a “Perfect Girl” on this Buddy Holly-esque workout. However, despite a delightful 2 minute and 41 second exploration of the issue, even Gary has to admit by the coda that it’s probably not gonna happen. In the late 1980s American janglers The Springfields (no relation to Dusty’s 1960s outfit) just wanted “This Perfect Day.” Well, if I were spinning this song and the rest of the collection it comes from, the 2019 retrospective of the band’s career Singles 1986-1991, I’d say ‘mission accomplished’! Perhaps we’d be wise to scope things down even further. Mo Troper has the right idea with his just released, wonderfully hooky “The Perfect Song.” I mean, I thought he already wrote the perfect song with that single from his 2020 album Natural Beauty, “Your Boy.” But more on that when I get to 2020’s best of lists …
Perfection is really just that space you’ve created, shaped, and defined where you can find some joy. For me that’s often finding, enjoying and sharing all this great music. So here’s to a perfect year, whatever that may amount to for you.